Regional Structural Change and Cohesion in the Process of European Integration: A Comparison of French, German, Portuguese and Spanish Regions
The process of European integration entails regional structural change thereby affecting the economic situation of regions and the objective of regional cohesion in Europe. As some kinds of specialization may be more favourable to regional income opportunities than others, there may be winning and losing regions depending on their characteristic specialization pattern. Relying on regional employment data from national data sources in a deep industrial break-down, I study the long-term structural change of regions from four countries depending on their initial kind of specialization, i.e., their initial set of industries with high or low scale economies and with high resource, labour, skill or research intensities. This approach requires a classification of industries according to their characteristics, and of regions according to their industrial mix, by means of cluster analyses. This will help identifying types of regions like the core regions of each country with usually quite diversified industrial structures and a certain focus on more modern industries, like old industrialised regions with a focus on iron-and-steel or textiles, like peripheral regions with an initial focus on traditional labour intensive industries, and finally like some highly and very specifically specialised regions. The evolution of specialization is then analysed in the context of the identified type-classes of regions with similar specialization. While the overall change of regional specialization is slow and without a clear direction towards an increase or decrease, the analysis for types of regions yields some more explicit results.
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